Equality news round-up: new campaign highlights military servicemembers in same-sex marriages, and more
May 16, 2012
By Scottie Thomaston
– Servicemembers Legal Defense Network has teamed up with Freedom to Marry for a campaign that will highlight the effects of the Defense of Marriage Act on military servicemembers. The campaign is called ‘Freedom to Marry, Freedom to Serve.”
– Manny Pacquiao, a world-famous boxer, is recently reported as saying gay people should be put to death and he opposes President Obama’s marriage equality position. The National Organization for Marriage highlighted his views on the president’s statement approvingly.
– Via press release, an FDA committee has recommended the approval of a rapid, in-home HIV test:
FDA Committee Recommends First Ever Rapid In-Home HIV Test
Could Significantly Increase Proportion of Americans Aware of HIV Status, Reduce Transmission
Washington, DC – Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Blood Products Advisory Committee recommended approval of the first ever in-home rapid HIV test. The product – the OraQuick In-Home HIV Test – is manufactured by OraSure Technologies, Inc. and is the same device as the OraQuick Rapid Test, which is already approved for use in a broad range of health care settings and is the standard of care at most testing sites around the country. Its accuracy, ease, and efficiency have been repeatedly demonstrated in national studies.
“Approximately 50,000 individuals in the U.S. are newly infected with HIV each year,” said National Minority AIDS Council Director of Legislative and Public Affairs Kali Lindsey. “Even more alarming is the fact that one in five people living with HIV in America do not know it. The OraQuick In-Home HIV Test would provide an important tool to supplement current HIV screening efforts by providing an accessible, relatively inexpensive device that can be used in the privacy of one’s own home. This is especially important for minority communities, where HIV stigma often prevents individuals from utilizing traditional testing services.”
Recently, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) examined the extent to which current policies and practices present barriers to HIV testing. It concluded that minority populations are not only infected at a higher rate than their White counterparts, they shoulder a considerably higher percentage of undiagnosed HIV/AIDS cases. While the percentage of unrecognized HIV infection among Whites is 18.8, that number is 29.5 among Asians and Pacific Islanders, 25.8 among Americans Indians and Alaskan Natives, 22.2 among Blacks and African-Americans, and 21.6 in Latinos.
“Individuals with unrecognized HIV infection are more likely to unknowingly transmit the virus to others,” continued Lindsey. “In fact, they are as much as three and a half times more likely to transmit the virus than those who know their status, accounting for more than half of all new HIV infections in the U.S. Research shows that most individuals take steps to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus following an HIV diagnosis. Expanded access to testing, including through accurate in-home screening, is an essential tool in slowing the spread of HIV. At the same time, we must ensure that those who do test positive can easily access care and support services, much like those included in the OraQuick testing package.”
“NMAC believes the OraQuick In-Home HIV Test would provide a critical expansion of current prevention efforts, particularly among minority populations isolated by the persistent stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS,” concluded Lindsey. “We applaud the committee’s decision today and urge the FDA to approve its use.”
– Law professor Michael Dorf credits the right wing for the launching of the marriage equality movement.
– In a round-up yesterday I noted that the New York Times seemed to be blaming a transgender murder victim for the attack on them. GLAAD says they are doubling down.
– The gay son of a Colorado lawmaker who helped kill the civil unions bill is speaking out.
– Apparently Mitt Romney is on video saying in 2006 that the price of same sex marriage is paid by the children.
– Civil disobedience actions continue in North Carolina after its passage of Amendment 1.
– There was a bomb threat scare at the HRC and other LGBT rights organizations’ buildings yesterday.
– A Senate committee will vote on the Domestic Partnerships Benefits and Obligations Act (DPBOA), which would ensure same-sex partners of federal government workers receive some federal benefits. UPDATED: They voted.